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Way back when: David Freese almost signed with Red Sox

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Alex Speier of WEEI.com has a good story about how Cardinals playoff hero David Freese almost signed with the Red Sox coming out of college.

Back in 2006 fifth-year seniors like Freese were allowed to sign with MLB organizations before the draft if their college team’s season was already over. Freese played for South Alabama and they weren’t expected to make the NCAA tournament, but a late improvement in their RPI ranking changed that and extended their season to the point that he couldn’t sign before the draft.

“If we didn’t make the regional, I was probably going to be a Red Sox before the draft,” Freese told Speier. “I was close. Obviously, I’m glad the way things worked out.”

So instead of signing with the Red Sox as a pre-draft free agent Freese went into the draft pool and was picked by the Padres in the ninth round. He signed for just $6,000, which is an incredibly low bonus for a ninth-round pick and likely less than he could have gotten from the Red Sox. Eighteen months later he was traded to the Cardinals for Jim Edmonds and the rest is history.

Mets’ Neil Walker expected to undergo season-ending back surgery

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.

If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.

Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.

Video: Stephen Cardullo celebrates his birthday by hitting a grand slam

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 31:  Stephen Cardullo #65 of the Colorado Rockies watches his first career Major League home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on August 31, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.

In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.

Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.